Roasted brussel sprouts & bacon with sweet potato slices

Did I mention that my husband is in the UK for 6 whole days?  I’ve been trying to manage the house, keep the kids entertained, feed them healthy food, and try to stay SANE.  I am not terribly good at any of these things, which is why the house looks like this:

I think I succeeded with dinner tonight, though.  This dinner won rave reviews from the crowd, even the picky 2 year old audience member who kept begging for “more please”.  That never happens.  This is super easy and very low-maintenance, but tastes like a fussy meal.  If you follow the cooking instructions, you can cook both the sweet potatoes and brussel sprouts at the SAME TIME.  In the SAME OVEN.  Even if your oven was made in 1963.  The sweet potatoes are divine.  Crispy and a little salty on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside and all around delicious.  Plus, they are so pretty!

Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Bacon

1-2 lbs brussel sprouts

1 large shallot, sliced thin

1/4 lb thick-sliced bacon, chopped (I like hemplers applewood smoked bacon)

2 tbsp olive oil

sea salt & pepper to taste

splash of balsamic vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.

2. Put everything in a bowl, stir to coat

3. Put in a large enough baking dish so the brussel sprouts are in one layer

4. Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10-15 mins

Roasted sweet potato slices

Sweet potatoes or yams, sliced into 1/2 in thick slices

Olive Oil

Sea Salt to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 deg

2. Toss sweet potato slices with olive oil & sea salt

3. spread in a single layer on a baking sheet

4.  bake for 40 mins, flipping once

 

If you want to cook them at the same time, the brussel sprouts should cook on the bottom shelf and the sweet potatoes on the top shelf.

 

Enjoy!


Dark Chocolate-covered Macaroons

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I am typing this on my phone, so I won’t be overly verbose, but this is about dessert.  Real dessert.  Not “I am eating paleo so I am going to pretend this tastes as good as real dessert” dessert.

This is decadent, chocolately, coconutty yumminess.  I hope you make these, and I hope you love them.

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Paleo (ish) chocolate-covered macaroons

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
2 egg whites
2 tbsp honey
Splash of rum

Chocolate sauce:  6 oz 86% dark chocolate, 1 tbsp butter.  Melted together in a double boiler.  You can easily forgo the butter.

Preheat oven to 350 deg F

1. Whip egg whites and rum until stiff, slowly adding honey while whipping
2. Fold in coconut
3. Drop rounded spoonfuls onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet
4.  Bake for 15 mins, until cookies are mostly firm but slightly spongey
5.  Cool the cookies
6. Once cool, dip in the chocolate sauce (or drizzle over the top with a spoon)
7. Refrigerate for 1 hour to let chocolate set

Note that, because these have butter, they should be kept cold until serving or the chocolate will get messy.  Enjoy!


Paleo Pork Carnitas

This is one of my family’s all-time favorite recipes.  It’s a recipe I have always made for dinner parties and get togethers and it’s a great recipe for leftovers!

Until we moved into our current house, I pretty much stuck to standard Mexican-American fare, including hard-shell tacos, tostados, and taco salads.  We discovered a restaurant by our house called Taqueria Guaymas, and after a little encouragement from my husband, tried a more traditional, soft taco.  I was hooked!  This place has the most amazing options: Carne Asada, Picadillo, Chicken, BBQ Pork, Carnitas, Prawn, Veggie, and on and on.  The first time I tried carnitas, I was HOOKED.  The perfect mix of greasy, crispy, onion-y (that’s a word, right?) glorious taco.

A few years later, on browsing through my Cook’s Illustrated, I found this recipe and have been making it regularly ever since.  Today, I was feeling a little bit of Paleo-diet induced boredom and thought “hmmm….I wonder” – I pulled out my recipe book and, voila!  a paleo meal fit for a queen.

Pile up the pork on a plate, add guacamole and pico de gallo and this will be delicious.  You can also put all of this on top of lettuce and you will have a great taco salad-style meal.

Mexican Pulled Pork (Carnitas)

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated Magazine

Serves 6

Pork:

1 (3.5 – 4 lb) pork butt, fat cap trimmed to 1/8 in thick, cut into 2 in chunks – I usually buy Boneless Pork Shoulder Ribs (much cheaper and easier to find)

sea salt and pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 small onion, peeled and quartered

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 medium lime, halved

1 medium orance, halved

2 cups chicken broth (or water if you don’t have chicken broth)

1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and head oven to 300 degrees.  Combine pork, sea salt (to taste) and pepper (to taste), cumin, onion, and bay leaves in a dutch oven.  Juice the lime and orange halves and place juices and spent fruit halves into the dutch oven.  Pour water over pork mixture and fruit halves.  Cover and place in oven.  Cook until meat is soft and falls apart when prodded with a fork, about 2 hours.

2. Remove pot from oven and turn oven to broil.  Using a slotted spoon, transfer pork to a bowl, discarding onion, bay leaves and fruit.  Place pot over high heat and simmer liquid, stirring frquently until thick and syrupy (heatsafe spatula should leave a wide trail when dragged through glaze), 8 to 12 minutes.  You should have about 1 cup of reduced liquid.

3. Using 2 forks, pull each piece of pork in half.  Fold in reduced liquid.  Spread pork in an even layer on wire rack set inside rimmed baking sheet or on broiler pan.  Place on lower-middle rack and broil until top of meat is well browned (not charred) and edges are slightly crisp, 5 to 8 minutes.  Flip pieces of meat and continue to broil 5 to 8 minutes longer.

Guacamole

1 large or 2 medium ripe avocados

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 roma tomato, diced

1 clove garlic, diced (or pressed)

1 small shallot, diced

sea salt and pepper to taste

Dump everything into a bowl.  Mash with a potato masher or the back of a fork (I use my pastry cutter).  Add sea salt and pepper to taste (I use 1/2 teaspoon of each).

Pico de Gallo

3 roma tomatoes, diced

1 medium shallot, diced

1 clove garlic, diced

1 tablespoon lime juice

sea salt and pepper to tase

Mix all of the ingredients together, cover and refrigerate for minimum 1/2 hour.  Keeps for 2-4 days in refrigerator.